Menopause is a change into another stage of life. It starts when the menstrual cycle ends. Menopause isn’t a medical issue, and some experience it as a period of freedom. But, hormonal changes and different components involved can cause inconvenience. Every individual may encounter menopause in an unexpected way. It usually begins between the ages of 40 and 58. For a few, it will happen early because of an ailment or treatment like the expulsion of the ovaries.
Here are the three phases of menopause –
Perimenopause or premenopause is the temporary time that begins before menopause. It includes the year that follows an individual’s last period.
Menopause begins either a year after the last period or when the feminine cycle has stopped on a clinical account, for example, the removal of the ovaries.
Postmenopause alludes to the years after menopause. It tends to be hard to tell when menopause has completed and postmenopause has begun.
Symptoms of menopause
Around menopause, different physical and mental changes can happen, inducing symptoms. A part of these begins before menopause and some proceed even after that.
The following are the signs and symptoms of premenopause and menopause:
- Lower fertility
As women advance to the end of their reproduction stage, before the menopause starts, their estrogen levels begin to fall. This decreases the odds of getting pregnant.
- Unpredictable period cycle
The first sign that tells menopause is drawing nearer is generally periods occurring less consistently. They might be infrequent, and they might be heavier or lighter. Women who have concerns about the menstrual changes should see a specialist, as these changes can likewise denote pregnancy or some medical problems.
- Vaginal dryness and uneasiness
Vaginal dryness, itching, and uneasiness may begin during premenopause and proceed into menopause. A woman with any of these manifestations may encounter irritation and inconvenience during vaginal sex. Likewise, if the skin breaks, this can build the danger of infection. Atrophic vaginitis, which includes thinning, drying, and irritation of the vaginal wall, can at times happen during menopause. Different creams, oils, and meds can ease vaginal dryness and related issues.
- Hot flashes
Hot flashes are usual while nearing the menopause. In hot flashes, women tend to feel a sudden sensation of heat in their upper body. The sensation may begin in the face, neck, or chest and progress upward or downward. A hot flash can also cause:
- Excessive sweating
- Red patches over the skin
Some also experience night sweats and cold flashes, or chills, along with or instead of hot flashes. Hot flashes generally happen in the 1st year after the periods conclude. However, they can proceed for as long as 14 years after menopause.
- Sleep problems
These problems can emerge during menopause, and they may come from:
- Night sweats
- Constant urination
Getting a lot of activity and keeping away from heavy suppers before sleep time can help with dealing with these issues, however, if it persists, contact a medical care supplier.
- Emotional changes
Gloominess, anxiety, and low state of mind are common during menopause. It’s common to encounter spells of irritation and weeping. Hormonal changes and sleep problems can add to these issues. Likewise, an individual’s emotions about menopause may become possibly the most important factor. For instance, concerns about low libido or the end of fertility can add to depression during menopause. While feeling sad, irritated, and tired are normal during menopause, they don’t really imply depression. If any individual who encounters a low state of mind for about fourteen days or longer should see a specialist, who will instruct the best course of action to overcome this.
- Concentration and learning troubles
Before the commencement of menopause, 66% of ladies may experience issues with concentration and memory. Staying physically and mentally active, after a healthy diet can help. For instance, few people benefit by finding a new hobby or joining a club for activity.
- Physical changes
Different physical changes can develop around the time of menopause. They include –
- Fat build-up around the mid-region
- Weight gain
- Changes in hair color, surface, and volume
- Tender and reduced breast size
- Urinary incontinence
Nonetheless, the connection between these changes and menopause isn’t clear in every case. The causes can be anything from age, transition or even a lifestyle that can play a major factor.
How to handle menopause
Menopause isn’t a medical issue however, it’s a natural progression. Nonetheless, it can include undesirable physical and mental changes. Any individual who has worries about these progressions should look for clinical guidance. A specialist may recommend the following:
- Hormone treatment
This treatment helps balance the body’s hormone levels by giving supplemental estrogen and a manufactured rendition of the hormone progesterone. Hormone treatment comes in different structures, including skin patches and skin creams. It can help lessen the incidence of hot flashes and other menopause side effects. Nonetheless, using it might expand the danger of building up specific infections and health conditions. Women should not use hormone treatment if they are at risk for the following medical issues, or if they have an individual or family background of these issues:
– Heart illness
– Blood clots
– Elevated levels of fatty oils in the blood
– Gallbladder illness
– Liver illness
– Breast cancer
It is imperative to talk about the potential advantages and dangers of hormone treatment with a specialist before using it.
- Other treatments
The following can help to relieve the symptoms –
– Over-the-counter gels and different items for vaginal dryness
– Prescription pills, creams, and rings for vaginal dryness
– A small dose of hormonal contraception pills for hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and mood swings
– Vaginal rejuvenation techniques can be adopted
- Lifestyle modifications
Tips for dealing with the difficulties of menopause include:
– Being active. Doing regular exercise
– Doing breathing exercises
– Adapting to a healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains
– Refraining from smoking and limiting alcohol consumption
– Get help for depression, anxiety and relationship concerns
– Maintaining a regular and healthy sleep pattern
– Doing Kegel activities to reinforce the pelvic floor
– Talking to loved ones about the experience of menopause
– Finding new ways to appreciate intimacy with your partner
- Maintaining an active sex life
Menopause has the potential to reduce sexual drive in women and cause vaginal dryness. That being said, it also removes the need to take birth control pills. This can make sex more enjoyable for some people.
Here’s what you can do to maintain active sex life during menopause –
- Stay active
- Adopt kegal exercise to strengthen pelvic floor
- To stop vaginal irritation, stop using strong soaps
- Refrain from smoking and alcohol
- Do more foreplay and use a lubricant to keep the area wet
Menopause can lead to people exploring other satisfying ways of intimacy that don’t involve the vagina. It’s important to remember that women can’t become pregnant once menopause begins, it is still essential to use protection during penetrative sex to ensure against STI. As the partners get old, they may experience menopause at the same time. They may feel a drop in their sex drive. Effective communication can help to explore new forms of intimacy.
Dr. Lavanya Kiran, Senior Consultant – Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Bangalore – Mazumdar Shaw Medical Center, Bommasandra